Expert Q&A: AFL Fantasy runner-up Shaun Brown on the 4 phases of trading strategy

Adelaide-based 30-year-old qualified teacher Shaun Brown pushed eventual winner Trent Sutcliffe all the way in the 2021 AFL Fantasy season, finishing runner-up and landing the $8,000 second-place prize.

The money certainly came in handy for Shaun who enjoyed his honeymoon last year, where he forged a deal with his new wife allowing him to play AFL Fantasy during the trip!

But timely research was only one part of the success of Shaun’s Treddas Spreaders, who offered us insight into his four phases of trading throughout the season.

HB: What’s your general trading strategy? Does that evolve as the season goes?

Shaun: I’ll break the year into four sections to explain my rationale at each stage of the season. The 4 sections or stages of the season are Early Rounds, Pre-Byes, Byes and Rankings or Finishing stage.

Early Rounds: The most important thing to do in this stage is to ensure you are maximizing the money generation from all the rookies you have in the side, including the bench. You do not need to worry about falling behind in the rankings to people who have started hot because if you can generate more cash then you can finish your team earlier and make up a lot of ground in the second half of the year. I believe you need to dedicate at least half your trades on getting the correct rookies into your side in the early rounds. The other half is for injuries, fixing big mistakes and jumping on overperforming mid-pricers.

Pre-Byes: This stage of the year you will be beginning to do the downgrade/upgrade strategy of trading out a rookie who has made some money and then upgrading another rookie or mid-pricer to a premium. The most important thing I do here is go through my current premiums and create a bye plan. I go for an even spread of players over the three bye rounds and will bring in premium players that even out the spread. I create a plan that looks forward four-five rounds and bring in players based on this plan.

Byes: During the byes is the first time during the season that I will trade out an under-performing premium player that was in my starting squad. Ideally, I won’t have any of these but if I do I am happy to trade out a premium the week of their bye for a premium coming off their bye. The aim is to have the team as close to complete as possible after the byes are finished.

Rankings/Finishing Stage: This stage is all about ranking spots for me and analyzing the top teams and the teams placed around me. This is a perfect time to bring in players with low ownership and trade out players with high ownership in the top ranked teams. Last season I traded out players such as Bailey Smith due to his high ownership in the top teams and I was predicting he would drop off in production. That move did not work out as he continued to score well compared to the low ownership player I brought in, which was Toby Greene (predicting a role change).  This is the kind of trading I do in the final rounds.

My other philosophies for trading throughout the year is to not necessarily choose the best player possible each time I trade in a premium but to pick a player that will best allow me to continue to upgrade my team in the following weeks. Looking for discounted premiums that have started slowly and dropped in price or over-performing mid-pricers. It is important to buy future performance and not get sucked into past scores.

Read more from Shaun in the Honeyball AFL magazine available now for only $7.95 via this link.

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